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helloSales Tactics Do Create Customer Experiences
Sales Tactics Do Create Customer Experiences

How often have you heard this statement from customer service personnel within your company – “I wish those salespeople would think about what they’re doing when making promises to customers.

I’m tired of being yelled at for something that’s not my fault.” It’s important to remember to only promise what can be delivered when interacting with potential customers – especially when they are purchasing big-ticket items.

Here are a few things to remember when using promises as sales tactics to sell products and services to customers.

Promise Only What Can Be Delivered

During my years in the corporate world, the issue of “Why did the salesperson promise that without verifying if we could meet that commitment” would often arise. That statement was usually followed up with “They only think about their commission!” While it’s understandable that salespeople are motivated by potential commissions, it’s critical to make sure that sales guidelines are in place to ensure a positive impact on those persons within the organization that have to service the customer.

Whether it be customer service, accounts receivable or any other department that interacts with customers, salespeople must understand and adhere to the policies and or procedures when in sales mode.

Should the need arise for special consideration in order to “get the deal”, check in with those persons who will be impacted by whatever the consideration is before making promises to the customer? Remember – customers view the people within your company as “the company”.

Develop Internal Relationships

Years ago when beginning a corporate stint as an account manager/project manager, my first week was spent meeting those persons with whom I impacted in performing my role. My first question was – “How does what I do impact you?” That question was followed by this one – “What is it that you want me to do to make your job easy?” This question was followed by this one – “What is it that you don’t ever want me to do?” Asking these questions allowed these persons to elaborate on what they were held accountable for and how performing my job could either bring positive or negative consequences for them. By taking time to develop internal relationships, one communicates “We Are A Team” to others within the company. Yes, it takes additional time to ask these questions, but it’s well worth it later in the relationship!

Be Accountable for Your Actions

Should issues arise due to sales methods, it’s the responsibility of the salesperson to be accountable. I think salespeople should be kept abreast of every issue related to promises made, but not kept, that arise with their customers.

Doing so would assist in understanding the impact of one’s actions. Persons required to service the customer after the sale should know that they will receive the same internal considerations afforded to the paying customer.

When salespeople are held accountable for their sales methods, the level of employee morale increases as one does not fear having to regularly interact with customers who were provided unfulfilled promises during the sales process.

The sales component of a company’s business model is most likely the original experience for potential customers. Make sure that your salespeople understand their impact on the total customer experience by making sure they Promise Only What Can Be Delivered, by requiring them to Develop Internal Relationships, and by encouraging them to Be Accountable for Their Actions.

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helloSilence is not Golden in Customer Service
Silence is not Golden in Customer Service

I have witnessed this phenomenon more than once during both my corporate career and as a consultant. Team meetings are conducted without employee input.

Even when prompted with “Does anyone have questions comments, employees are reluctant to speak up. The one sign that employees are either afraid of what may happen should they speak up or just don’t care is Silence.

This is a sound (or lack thereof) in my opinion, any company or organization should strive to keep far, far away. Silence is not good for your customers nor is it good for your company. Here are a few things that may be contributing to employees’ choice to remain silent.

Organizational Culture

Probably the #1 reason that employees tend to exercise silence in the workplace is due to the culture of the organization. What behaviors do members of management model to their subordinates? Do these behaviors encourage employees to be more open? Are these behaviors conducive to creating a long-term positive work environment? Are employees treated with respect when voicing their opinion about the work environment? Should the answer be no to either of these questions, employee silence will inevitably show up in the workplace.

Leaders must strive to set the pace in any organization. Management must make sure that they are both approachable and sincere when interacting with their subordinates.

Non-Inclusion of Employees in Decision Making

Employees often have the answers to issues that if utilized, more than likely will result in both a better experience for themselves and their customers. When recommendations for change go without acknowledgment or management exhibits a lack of interest, employees eventually shut down.

This is another form of silence that should never exist within an organization. Proactively seek out employee input and implement recommendations that make sense. This gives an instant boost to employee morale.

Whether they are production or front-line employees, their ideas come from an “I do this every day.” perspective, which should be respected and not taken for granted.

Non-Communication Across Departments

As a consultant, I often run across instances of non-communication across departments within companies. I usually ask both managers and employees why is this the case.

“It’s so busy here that we don’t have time to check with them before we do…… is one answer that I hear on a regular basis. When this is the case, the next thing that I usually see is everyone with their “head down” working – just trying to make it through the day. Cross-functional communication must be a priority in order to create the best possible customer and employee experience.

Is employee silence a component of your company’s culture? Take an honest look at what might be contributing to this scenario. Your customers are directly impacted by the silence within your company. Remember – Silence is not golden in customer service.

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helloCustomer Service Does Impact Your Brand Image
Customer Service Does Impact Your Brand Image

Customers and potential customers need to be familiar with your brand if you want to attract and keep their business. It’s just as important to protect your brand image by consistently providing great customer experiences. Let’s take a look at a couple of reasons why protecting your brand is imperative.

Brand Recognition Development Cost

Let’s consider the cost to gain brand recognition for your product or service. Capital is required to establish a presence with your target market. How much does it cost to get in front of your customers? Developing your brand recognition strategy requires time and effort.

Can you place a cost on your marketing team’s time and effort? Once your strategy is developed and ready to roll out, how much are the actual advertising costs? For some companies, this can be millions of dollars. Make sure that you back up the cost of brand recognition with excellent customer experiences.

Reputation Cost

It’s amazing to see the number of companies that receive negative comments about their product or service on Twitter. Try searching for “poor customer service” and review the results. Some of the companies have national and international brands.

YouTube is another medium customers can use to speak about their dissatisfaction with companies. Should one of these complaints go viral, the company’s reputation might take a huge hit. How much damage to its reputation can a company stand? What will be the cost to put out this particular “fire”? What might be the impact on future revenue?

How might competitors take advantage of this particular situation? These are questions to consider in regard to the importance of protecting your reputation by creating excellent customer experiences.

Always, always remember the importance of protecting your brand image. With every customer interaction, your brand’s reputation is at stake. Customer-facing personnel – sales, service, etc. – are all crucial to keeping your company’s image intact.

One negative tweet or video containing a bad customer experience can quickly spiral out of control. Be sure to educate everyone within your company on the importance of creating great customer experiences. Constantly remind them of how are important they are to protecting your company’s reputation.

Share information regarding the cost of brand development with all employees. Today’s customer has many available options to express how they feel about your products and services. Strive to ensure that your brand is protected by providing great customer experiences!

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hellocustomer service consulting
Take the “We Will Provide Great Customer Service!” Pledge

Customer Service Consulting

The advent of social media, specifically Twitter, provides an avenue for customers to express their happiness and unhappiness with products and services. Just search for “bad customer service” or “poor customer service”, and you’ll be presented with a plethora of comments regarding customer service experiences gone wrong.

There are, however, companies and organizations that strive to provide great customer experiences. I am issuing the challenge for 10,000 businesses – large and small, across all industries – worldwide to take the “We Will Provide Great Customer Service!“ Pledge. Let’s talk about what I am challenging businesses to pledge to exercise:

1. Reliability

Our customers can believe that our products and services will meet their standards. Our customers can unconsciously trust us.

2. Credibility

We will strive to maintain a positive reputation with our customers and employees. We will do what we say we will do.

3. Competence

We will take the time to properly train our employees to ensure they are fully knowledgeable about our products and or services. We also provide basic customer service skills training to all employees – especially those who interact with customers on a daily basis.

4. Accessibility

Our customers can easily reach and communicate with us – whether that be via phone, face-to-face, web chat, email, or SMS text.

If we have brick-and-mortar locations, we will utilize customer-friendly signage to allow for quick locating and retrieval of our products. Our website will be customer friendly – easy to navigate and free of industry jargon.

5. Responsiveness

We are serious about responding to customer inquiries, requests, and complaints. We will set time standards for responding to customer emails, chat requests, and especially customer complaints.

In addition, we will proactively provide updates and progress reports when working on projects. We will develop update criteria with the customer – of updates, frequency, and method.

6. Courtesy 

We will remember and exercise the principle that everyone, customers and employees, deserves a measure of respect. We believe that all employees deserve to be treated well for all the great things they do. We will courteously acknowledge our customer’s presence – via whatever method they choose to engage with us.

When customers are angry, we will remain courteous to ensure that we do all we can to resolve the issue and retain their business.

7. Consistency

We will strive to consistently apply the aforementioned six keys as our ability to do so day in and day out, month after month, year after year, is what will make us great at providing great customer service.

Is your company up for the challenge? Go ahead and commit to the pledge today! If you are interested in learning more, don’t hesitate to contact us for more info!

Commit To The Pledge!

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